In the summer, people generally free up more time for fun. This is especially true for a Canadian city like Toronto, where people are looking for every opportunity to take advantage of the summer weather and fill it with activities.

Here's where you come in. Capitalize on a guaranteed guest list and plan a killer party for your friends that they wouldn't dare to flake out on! Here are 11 party concepts and ideas to plan for this summer:

1. Backyard Barbecue

Guests: 6-20

Dress code: simple, casual, summery.

Food: Don’t rely on basic hot dogs and burgers, mix it up with chicken breasts and sausages! Since the BBQ is the party centrepiece (and already turned on), throw down some red peppers, corn, and zucchini too. Have an assortment of salads to compliment your grilled mains. And skip lettuce- salad is better when it is made out of potatoes or pasta, amirite?

Drink: Glass dispensers with homemade sangria or vodka lemonade are perfect for a barbecue and will look great with some chopped up fruit tossed in. Set up some pretty wineglasses and a tray of  garnishing fruits, and you're good to go. 

Entertainment: Classic barbecue games seem kitschy but can truly be so much fun- coerce your friends into a three-legged race, lawn bowling, a potato sack race and horseshoes and I promise none of you will regret it!


2. Game Night

Guests: 6-20

Dress code: quite literally anything. You can set themed attire (pyjama party, anyone?) or just tell everyone to come as they are!

Food: set out trays of mini pizzas, mini quiches, chips, and pretzels!

Drink: tequila-OJ & beer.

Entertainment: the games of course! Make sure you have enough games for your entire guest list to be simultaneously engaged in the fun. If you want your party to really be centred around the games element, turn it into a tournament with some sort of incentivizing prize at the end! If you want your party to really be centred around the 'party' element, integrate drinking into all of the games. Some good games to go out and get for this party are Cards Against Humanity, Battleship, Jenga, Mind Trap, and Balderdash. Other games that don't involve a purchase are pictionary, charades, and trivia, and can all be super fun. 


3. Costume/Theme Party

Guests: 10-100

Theme ideas: Come as you were (dress up as your former self from), pun-party (think wall-flower, one-night stand, etc), ABC (anything but clothes), turtleneck party, meme party, no cup party (bring something to drink out of that isn’t a cup), ugly sweater party, punks and goths party, yacht club party (pearls, sensible slacks, and white galore), etc... the possibilities really are endless!

Dress Code: depending on if you want a theme or not, you could alternatively just host a halloween-style costume party and tell your guests to wear whatever floats their boat. 

Food: Bowls of chips, dips, and candy galore!

Drink: A cooler of beer and cider or BYOB, depending on the quantity of guests.

Entertainment: costume contest with some sort of prize for the winner! 

Playlist: Dance music to keep the energy up. This is a silly party, so if people start to get bored they’ll also start feeling awkward about their toilet paper wedding dress and homemade hat.


4. Dinner Party

Guests: 4-15

Dress code: casual-dressy. A good time to wear your white linen pants and that blouse from Zara you had nowhere to wear but had to buy anyway because it was too pretty.

Food: If you're a twenty something, opt for a potluck style meal. If everyone is responsible for one dish, you’ll end up with a smorgasbord of incredible food without sacrificing your entire paycheque and day. 

Drink: wine on wine on wine on wine. 

Entertainment: Dinner parties are traditionally chit-chat driven, but if things start to die down, have some games on the back-burner. See party #2 for game ideas.

Playlist: indie/chill, think Bon Iver or Death Cab For Cutie. Note that whatever it is- it should be fairly quiet to make room for conversation to dominate! Battling the playlist's volume in a restaurant can ruin a dining experience, don't invite that mishap into your own home.


5. Pool Party

Guests: 5-30

Dress code: ...a bathing suit

Food: hot dogs, hamburgers, and a cooler filled with popsicles and freezies. 

Drink: beer, sangria, and a bottle of liquor so that hesitant swimmers will warm up to the pool after a shot or two.

Playlist: Top 40 with a tasteful dash of throwback bangers.

Entertainment: Arrange pool games such as chicken, marco polo, or greased watermelon football (lather a watermelon in Vasaline, and the first person to get it out of the pool is the winner!) If you don't mind the clean up, water balloon fights are the ultimate way to make a pool party memorable.

Other: Hosts, make sure you have plenty of towels. Some of your guests will inevitably forget their own, and double-dippers will need a fresh one. Fun pool floaties are also a must!


6. Throwback Party

Guests: 10-50

Dress code: wear a style from at least five years ago. For example, a long, ribbed racerback with a wide, waist cinching belt, glitter eyeliner, crimped hair, and your old razr. Guys - dig up your hair gel and puka shell necklaces. Heelies for all. 

Food: Pizza and bowls filled with the snacks you ate back in elementary school, ie. dunkaroos, gushers, fruit roll ups, snack packs, and lunchables!

Drink: a middle-school-dance inspired punch bowl. For the non-drinkers, chubby soda and capri sun.

Playlist: Throwbacks ONLY. That means Backstreet boys, N'Sync, pre-meltdown Britney, JoJo, and Jesse McCartney.

Entertainment: watch movies and shows from back in the day. play M*A*S*H*, colour in colouring books, make gimp bracelets. 


7. Backyard Cocktail Party

Guests: 10-50

Dress code: Summery cocktail dresses and pressed collared shirts. 

Food: devilled eggs and shrimp cocktail.

Drink: mojitos and martinis.

Entertainment: Depending on the scale of your event and penny in your pocket, you could hire an entertainer to liven the event. Magicians, comedians, musicians, or caricature artists can add an interesting dimension to your traditional cocktail party.


8. Summer Movie Night

Guests: 2-10

Dress code: Pyjamas or lounge wear.

Food: Pizza and popcorn.

Drink: wine and/or beer.

Entertainment: Movies, duh. You could also make the whole event of eating pizza in front of the TV a little more fun by making the pizzas yourself.

Bonus: Get a projector and make it an outdoor event! Movies under the stars with your besties and endless blankets? Yes please!


9. High Tea Party

Guests: 4-10

Dress code: lace cocktail dresses, silk gloves, pearl necklaces. 

Food: petite sandwiches and pretty cakes

Drink: Tea, duh. (spiked, depending on what direction this party is headed)

Playlist: Classical music. Lana Del Rey, Lumineers, and Jack Johnson could work too.

Entertainment: See who can make their hack British accent last the longest. Host an accordingly themed race: whoever gets to the finish line balancing books on their head first wins! If you and your friends are still children at heart, play dress up and then host a fashion show! Take lots of pictures!


10. Massive Backyard Blowout

Guests: 100+ Make sure your guest list is super diverse, people don't want to just see the same old people they chill with every weekend, they're much more drawn to opportunities where they might meet some new and interesting people. Tell your friends from all circles to invite their friends too.

Dress code: cool-casual 

Food: have bowls of chips and loads of hot dogs and hamburgers ready to go. People may not be there for the food, but nobody has ever complained about there being too much food at a party!

Drink: definitely BYOB, unless you're rich as F*CK or flagrant with your money. Although just like the food, nobody'd never complain about an open bar!

Playlist: curate an epic music mix in advance featuring mostly DJs and Drake with the occasional throwback banger.

Entertainment: dance-offs, getting blackout.


11. Bonfire Party

Guests: 5-25

Dress code: sweaters & shorts

Food: spider weineys and s’mores galore!

Drink: beer and cider

Playlist: upbeat-chill: The Killers, Ed Sheeran, Arctic Monkeys, Fleetwood Mac, etc.

Entertainment: invite your friend with an acoustic guitar for sing-a-long fun. Tell ghost stories, funny stories, and play games like two truths and a lie, twenty questions, and chubby bunny!


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